The sweet symphony of jasmine and citrus blossoms wisped through the cool pre-dawn air. Jerry Kinston breathed deep. “This is gonna be a great day,” he said as he hoisted his clubs into the back of his new crossover. “We’re walkin’ eighteen today!”
Jerry wanted to hit a full bucket before their 6:30 a.m. tee time, but he also wanted to show Al his new toy. He arrived at Al’s driveway in less than ten minutes.
“Good to see ya Al,” Jerry said excitedly as Al opened his front door.
“Mornin.’ Meet me at the garage door, we’ll load up and get moving.” Al carefully positioned his gear next to Jerry’s and grabbed the hatch, somewhat startled when it started closing on its own.
Jerry kept talking about the features of the car and the great deal he got and drove right past his next turn and another intersection before catching himself. He slowed down and made a quick u-turn. “Sorry about that,” he said once he was re-oriented. “We’ll be back on track in—“
The car spun violently in a clockwise motion as the side curtain airbags deployed. Jerry looked at Al— he wasn’t moving and the right side of his face was covered in blood. He saw that the window was shattered and the door was caved in severely. “Al, Al, you okay?” No response. Jerry quickly reached for his cell phone and steadied his trembling hands long enough to dial 911. “Al. Al!”
Jerry rode in the back of the ambulance with Al and the paramedics. “Liz, did anybody call Liz, Al’s wife?”
“She’s been contacted,” one of the paramedics said. “We told her to meet us at Valley Medical Center.”
Jerry stepped out of the ambulance after the paramedics whisked Al into the emergency room. He walked slowly through the doors, seeing Liz run up to meet Al, tears streaming down a face that looked surprisingly peaceful. She released his hand and smiled as they took him inside. Jerry walked into the stark waiting room with its uninviting rows of green-upholstered chairs and saw about a dozen men and women gathered around Liz, arms across one another’s shoulders. “How’d all those people get here so fast?” Jerry wondered to himself. “If it was me that got hit, I wonder who would show up?”
A doctor came out to speak to Liz about thirty minutes later. She then spotted Jerry and walked over to him with another man. “Jerry, are you alright?”
“I’m fine, thanks. Just some bruises on my right side. How’s Al, what have they told you?”
Tears returned to Liz’s cheeks. “They said his vitals are stable but … he’s in a coma.”
“Damn, if I’d only been paying attention, I wouldn’t have missed the turn—
“Jerry, please don’t. It’s not your fault. The police told me the driver that hit you admitted he didn’t have his headlights on, and that he was distracted by a call on his cell phone.”
“Yeah, but if I hadn’t—”
“Jerry, may I speak with you over in the corner?” the other man asked. Jerry stared at the floor a moment, then nodded his head and walked over. “My name is John Walters. I’m a very close friend of Al. For his sake, please don’t entertain the thought that this was your fault.”
“I’m gonna go out for a short walk,” Jerry said. As he stepped outside through the automatic doors, a different thought gripped him, and he decided to go back inside and talk to John. “I just can’t shake the thought that it could have been me, except for the…”
A pause. “Except for the grace of God?” John said.
“Yeah. But it doesn’t make any sense. Al’s such a solid guy, and me…”
“You know what? Things like this don’t make sense to me either. But there’s one thing that I hold on to.”
John’s admission startled Jerry. “What’s that?”
“Trust that God is good and that everything that happens ultimately works for good.”
“Even if Al dies?”
Liz overheard them and walked over. “I want to I tell you something about Al. If he woke up today knowing he would have to be in a car accident for you to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, he’d volunteer in a second.”
Jerry’s face turned ashen. “Why would he do that?” He paused for a minute. “Because Jesus did that for him?”
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